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Who Broke Prod?

Emma Button was inspired by a conversation from a prior work team with the morning after she’d spent a long weekend on call. Instead of searching for the “human” cause of a production outage, she realised we should focus on facts, truthfulness and accountability.

Emma shares with the world some actionable improvement katas we can all practice to help us prepare for and embrace failure.

Most humans aren’t well-equipped to respond positively to poor feedback. We tend to roll ourselves into a little conceptual ball and put up our emotional defences.

The most alarming thing about our human response to failure is our instinctive need to seek out a single root cause, to pinpoint the failure and to deflect the focus from ourselves.

Apportioning blame is a survival instinct. Small failures can become big failures, and when visibility, honesty and accountability start to suffer, preventing us from learning from our collective failures.

We need to learn to be comfortable lowering our defences, and to stop seeking blame.

We can all start to make a difference by setting an example and displaying the behaviours we expect to see of others. You don’t need to be a leader to start rewarding good behaviours and building a culture in which those around you feel safe.


For the full transcript and video presentation go to

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